Apple Spice Muffins with Maple Brown Sugar Frosting

I have to admit, weekends I always like to indulge in a nice dessert.  So this past weekend, I decided to make these moist, delicious and OUT OF THIS WORLD cupcakes.  I mean I guess I'm excited about these because I didn't expect them to taste so good!  I bought these beautiful organic Cameo apples that worked really well with this recipe but you can also use Macintosh or Granny Smith.

This takes quite a bit of apples , almost a pound to be exact, so that must mean they are SUPER healthy right?  Okay, probably not but at least you're getting 1/2 serving of fruit with your dessert ^_^!  Also, I left the icing off a few of the cupcakes as a healthier alternative, or as a great breakfast option.

Upon tasting this cupcake, you will close your eyes and drift off to a dream world of decadence ---falling into a "MMmmmmmm" trance.  The combination of the creamy and sweet maple brown sugar frosting paired with the moist apple cake -- I mean this cupcake is so good my friend Jenni had dreams about it!  That alone should be reason enough to just try it, right?

Ingredients for Gingersnap Crust:

  • 2 cups gingersnap cookies, crushed into fine crumbs
  • 1 cup gingersnap crumb and pecan mixture (for decoration)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Melt the butter and mix with crumbs thoroughly.    Distribute mixture evenly into muffin tins and press down to make the crust.  Bake for 5-7 minutes or until a light golden brown.

For decoration, you will need an additional cup of gingersnap crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup of chopped pecans.  Mix together and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the batter for the cupcakes...

Ingredients for Apple Spice Muffins:

(makes 1 dozen)

  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flower
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used cardamom)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (I added this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded apples, such as Cameo, Macintosh or Granny Smith

Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  Put butter and sugar into bowl and with an electric mixer or stand mixer, mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about five minutes.  Mix in eggs, sour cream and vanilla, reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture and mix until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Carefully fold in your apples until combined.

Divide batter among lined cups, filling halfway.  Bake until tops are springy to the touch, about 18-20 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from tins; transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

While your muffins are cooling, make the icing!

Ingredients for Maple Brown Sugar Icing:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl place sugars butter and salt.  Using an electric beater or stand mixer, beat ingredients until combined.  Continue beating and add maple syrup in a stead stream.  Add vanilla.  Increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Once your muffins have cooled, you may now begin to ice them! Using an icing brush, or a knife, ice the tops of the muffins evenly.  To decorate them the way that I have (They are bees if you can't tell), you will need 12 half pecans, 24 pinenuts, and 24 cloves.  For the pecans you will have to cut them at a tip, as I have, at one end.  Then place the cloves as the antennae and the pinenuts as the wings.

Then using the pecan and gingersnap crumb mixture, carefully dust the outside edges as shown above.  Like I said earlier, you can leave all the icing and decorations off and eat them as muffins.  I set half aside that way and they made a really quick and delicious breakfast.  Nom nom nom!!!

I also wanted to share some of my food art with you guys, starting today I will be posting pictures periodically of "beauty" that I find in food and other places you wouldn't expect.  I hope you guys will enjoy these images, and I would really appreciate any feedback you may have.

Can anyone guess what this is?  I wanted to print this out on 3 separate canvases and have it as a large wall mural -- thoughts?